September Food Champions Challenge - Herbs

Include some Land Cress in your herbal mix. This herb is particularly effective against Cabbage Moth caterpillars but does also work to some reasonable degree for other species. When the caterpillars eat the Cress they are killed, the benefit is increased as Cabbage moths are so attracted they will lay their eggs on the Cress even if other types of plants they like are in that area. Other caterpillar producing layers will also attempt to lay their eggs on the Cress.

Cress also makes a very nice addition to your herbs for human consumption.


I buy Hoyts Herb packs . Usually Oregano , Rosemary Leaves , their mixed herb pack which contains Marjoram , Thyme and Sage . I also always keep a jar of their Italian Herb Mix on hand . I use them to add to casseroles and sprinkle over pasta and home made pizza .


Basil, rocket. parsley, garlic, garlic chives, chives, sorrel, mint, basil mint, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage, and two Bay trees.

I do tend to grow them as companion plants, to vegetable crops!

In pasta sauces, in salads, in/with roasts, in soups, in sandwiches, and in salads.

I use worm castings tea on everything in the garden, and in pots, and on shrubs and trees.

Throughout the year!

We have two worm farms, bought from Bunnings, cast from ‘recycled plastic?’ This practice is THE best thing I’ve ever started doing as a gardener. ???

Viz. Pests don’t infest, and its well over 2 years since I began. Pests are around but don’t get going, IYTMMeaning!

We have eleven of those Bunnings 1.2m sq. treated-timber garden beds.
In the Northern part of the garden.

And, quite a few herb-pots under the big & long Nth facing shaded deck. The pots placed so they’re in the sun and can get wet from rain as well.

Tim Bailey


We grow our herbs in half wine barrels on our sunny terrace. Parsley, oregano, chives and sage in one; basil in summer in the other. Also thyme and rosemary in the ground, mint in a terracotta pot, and occasionally coriander and Vietnamese mint (always in its own pot!).
I rarely cook the soft leaves, preferring to tear or shred them for garnishes, add into salads, Asian or Middle Eastern style, or in omelettes. Sage, thyme and rosemary get used mostly in roasts and bakes. Oh, and not traditionally regarded as a herb, but also nasturtiums: the flowers as an edible garnish and the delicious peppery leaves are great with cream cheese on crackers! (And apparently the buds can be pickled, much like capers, although I haven’t tried this.)
I also use sprigs of herbs in small tins or vases as table decorations when we have guests, since they make nice low and fragrant table decorations.


I know from years of trying what doesn’t grow in my western Sydney garden with clay soil and terrible aspect:

Coriander, chervil, basil and mint. Weather’s too hot for coriander and chervil, and the other two just don’t like my garden. Pots or ground, sun, shade, no luck.

Vietnamese mint and Thai basil last a bit longer but have failed prematurely in pots, so the next victims will go into the ground.

What grows well:
Curry leaf bushes - one of my absolute favourite herbal flavours that is popular in southern Indian regional cuisines. The bushes give off a heady scent, but frying the leaves is next level heaven. I use them fresh all year round
Lemongrass - an ever-expanding thatch of vicious stalks with abrasive leaves to catch out the unwary, which I can’t use up faster than it grows
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

What I’m trying for the first time this year: perilla (shiso) - another favourite herb

It’s used in Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean cooking and has a very distinctive flavour I can’t describe. Often appears in the pile of mixed fresh herbs that accompany some Vietnamese dishes like pho, banh xeo (savoury pancake) and other salad-y dishes

It’s also hard to find bunches of perilla for sale anywhere in Sydney except around Cabramatta, and right now it’s outside my lockdown radius. So may as well plant something that is hard to source instead of common herbs I can easily buy. Apparently it’s a bit tricky to grow but now’s the time of year to plant the seeds so cross fingers.


We grow a range of herbs in the garden such as:

  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • coriander
  • common mint
  • Tasmanian pepperberry
  • chives
  • garlic chives

We also starting to grow have some lemon grass in a pot in our glasshouse - as it is to cold to grow outdoors successfully in Tassie. We also plan to grow some basil this summer as well (basil is the perfect companion to tomatoes).

Some of the herbs we grow can be used as a flavour or vegetable. Garlic chives is an example where it can also be stirfried with egg as a vegetable dish.

We regularly use our herbs in cooking … from adding to pasta sauces to salads, flavouring roasts (such as using Tasmanian pepperberry leaves) to making a salsa verde as a condiment for a meal.

We love coriander and our favourite use is for Hainan (Southern) Chicken. A home style recipe is:


  • Chicken
  • Coriander (roots & green leaves)
  • Star anise (about 3-4)
  • Cracked pepper
  • Garlic (however much you want)
  • Onion (cut into big chunks)
  • Ginger (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Soy sauce
  • Oil
  • Lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • Mixed vegies (whatever we have in the crisper)

To cook the chicken

In a big pot, put the chicken with coriander roots, pepper, star anise, garlic bulbs & onion - cover with water.

Bring to the boil – put the lid on & put on to simmer.

When chicken is nearly cooked, start popping in your veggies (carrots, greens, etc) so they cook in the water.

To make the sauce…

Cut the coriander leaves pretty finely & put them in a jug.

Pop in the ginger, a decent splash of oil & pretty equal amounts of soy sauce & lemon juice (I don’t know amounts, just cover the ginger & coriander & taste to see how it is)

Serve with rice


I have a large garden and grow lots of herbs. The raised bed close to the back door has: parsley, oregano, chives, thyme, garlic chives, sage, rosemary, coriander and dill. It’s great to just go out the back door and snip the herbs I want. Further out in the garden there is a large bay tree, and every now and then I wander down, pick a handful of leaves and freeze them for later use. I also have more herbs in the vegetable garden - lots of garlic, fennel, dill, lots of coriander and lots more parsley. In the igloo there are different types of basil. I love having an abundance of herbs! I use many of them in salads (which we grow). My favourite is parsley as it is so versatile. An essential ingredient in tabbouleh, also tomato salad. I sometimes use it in pesto, and a while ago saw a recipe for an omelette with lots of chopped parsley and walnuts. I could go on …


I am quite surprised at the number of accidental herbs we grow in our north-facing back garden.
Flat-leaf parsley has self-seeded all over the garden. I am addicted to its fresh crunchy flavour with lemon and garlic. Coriander springs up everywhere too. A big lavender bush for its fresh smells by the gate, and tarragon and thyme growing happily next to it. The young leaves from the lime tree are good in a curry. Mint under the fig tree, and marjoram growing its carpet in the front garden.
And the rocket (aruglia) - is it a herb, or is it a vegetable? Its spicy flavour is more interesting than spinach, and again, self-seeded everywhere from a crop planted a couple of years ago.


We always grow, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Kaffir Lime and Bay Leaves as a minimum. Many are grown in long and deep pots on our balcony with the Bay Tree, Sage, Kaffir and Rosemary grown out in the garden. This year we will grown perennials such as Thai basil (it lasts longer than English), Coriander, Long Red/Green Chilli, Spring Onion. I cook a lot of different styles such as Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Indian, Moroccan and Australian. The later are traditional slow cooked foods, baked dishes and soups. I tend to purchase a fair bit of garlic and additional coriander. I also like to preserve lemons, fruit from our trees, make relishes, jams and this year I’m pursuing fermented foods. Anyone for dinner? :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


What’s on and what time? You may get a lot of acceptees. :wink:


I grow flat-leaved parsley in a pot on my small balcony which faces East. I like to have that versatile herb available whenever I need it: parsley intensifies flavour in cooking; makes a refreshing green sauce for fish and potato salads; can be used to garnish dishes for a cool visual appeal.

My other herb is Rosemary, not really suited to an east facing balcony, but I could not do without being able to cut a fresh sprig whenever I needed one: it’s an indispensable seasoning for meat and chicken, not to mention roast potatoes!

I buy a packet of bay leaves to make up my bouquet garni, a little bundle of fresh herbs tied with kitchen twine which can be easily removed without having to strain chopped-up herbs. Usually made up of parsley, thyme, and bay leaves, it enhances flavour and aroma during cooking.
For a stronger infusion I use rosemary, oregano, sage,

If only dried herbs are available, a small square of cheesecloth tied with kitchen string is very easy to remove just before serving.


A few have mentioned the Australian native Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora).

In it’s natural environment it can grow into a 20m rainforest tree. Ours is close to 30 years old. It is a good 15m tall. The adventurous roots stretch out down slope 10-15m seeking out the house dam. It shoots vigorously from the roots adding to the ground cover.

If not in a large pot, regular pruning to maintain a compact shrub may be important. I run the brush cutter or mower as needed over the spreading carpet of shoots. It does leave a wonderful aroma. Often, just walking on the dried fallen leaves is enough for some soothing free and natural aroma therapy.


One of my favourites! Not sure how many heads of garlic to use mind you…


This motivates me to plant out the makrut and bay, because they have been struggling in pots for far too long


I posted in another topic last year regarding our herb garden.

I have not planted anything in it this year so it has developed into this.

The parsely finally died and the sage has gone gangbusters. My wife has trimmed it severely but it just keeps coming back.

I tried to grow sage at both of our previous homes without success.

The coriander died but self seeded this year.

The fallen fruits off hybrid chillies had virtually every seed sprout but they all died. A few more have appeared this year but have come to nothing. I suspect that they have been developed to be sterile.

Before my wife took over the herb garden with her cuttings, we had a prolific rosemary bush which died after it was shaded out by the cuttings.

I finally managed to buy another plant from a local nursery after Bunnings claimed that they could not get them last year, but it has struggled to just stay alive in the pot beside the herb garden.

The rosemary may not be performing, we can offer “sage” advice.


For Cairns try a plain Terracotta pot. One that is not sealed. It needs good drainage, coming from rocky ground and slopes around the Mediterranean. Full sun, although ours grows fine with full shade for part of the day. They are drought tolerant. In Cairns it may be best to not have it out in the rain too often in summer?

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Rosemary likes hot dry summers, grows best in a well drained soil in full sun.
Cairns hot humid summers may not be the most suitable but rosemary is a nice and adaptable plant :laughing:

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Where I am in inner Brisbane, the possums eat pretty much everything I plant. Any advice as to herbs they won’t like, or how to repel them, would be most welcome :pray:

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Possums are smart, superb athletes and dedicated to finding the weakness in any defence. Just about any kind of fruit, tender shoots or blossom is good tucker, they will detect anything you have that they like and go for it. I would love to be proven wrong but I doubt bad smells will keep them from a feed.

An electric fence does works on possums; also on dogs, cats, children and nosy neighbours. I can get harvest from my orchard because of a wire mesh fence with an electric wire on stand-offs 10cm to the side of the fence near the top. They cannot climb over it or squeeze under it without getting zapped. The power only needs to be on about one month a year while the stone fruit ripen. Before that I tried synthetic bird mesh all over (they chewed big holes in it each night) and chook wire from the ground about a metre high (climbed over it).

This may not be an acceptable solution in suburbia.

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Possums are highly adaptable, as @syncretic notes.

There are commercially available chemical sprays that you need to apply to the plants they are eating. It sounds like too much trouble as they wash off with rain and watering.

If you can fence the area off or modify existing fences there are a number of options and designs. Any fence needs some type of device or strategy on the top. There are spiky metal toppers (EG Whites rural fencing) as well as a design option with a loose top wire.

We used to have a possum problem around the house. No electric fence needed but not so urban suited.

Possums will also avoid dogs, however most of us pamper our urban pets and let them sleep inside. It’s worth looking for how the possum is accessing your garden and from where. There may be some other things that can be done to disrupt it’s travels.

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